Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children patient surrounded by heart balloons

Feb 22, 2016 / Sports Medicine

Heart Health Tips for Young Athletes From Our Sports Medicine Team

As a nation, we celebrate our loved ones and cardiac health in February. In pediatric sports medicine, we are passionate about heart health. A well-rounded view of heart health means being aware of the signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac death.

The sudden death of a young athlete is rare, but when it happens, it is a devastating event for a family, team and community to experience. For this reason, the topic continues to be the center of discussions in sports medicine.

Experts agree on these key steps to protect young athletes:

Report

Signs, symptoms and any history of cardiac problems in young athletes should be reported at each preparticipation evaluation and when new problems develop. Some examples are chest pain, shortness of breath and passing out.

Ask

Knowing your family’s medical history is a critical step to prevent sudden cardiac death in healthy young athletes. Ask your family members about a history of cardiac problems or sudden death in the family.

Prepare

Learn the emergency plan for adults or youth who become unconscious at schools and sports venues. Know where to find the closest AED (automatic external defibrillator) and be sure it is accessible to all event participants, every time.

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children pediatricians and sports medicine experts, Shane Miller M.D. and Jane Chung, M.D., advise parents to take athletes to their pediatrician for preparticipation evaluations. Though some schools and organizations may not require a release, seasonal checkups and discussions with the doctor can help to prevent many problems and to address injuries before they become more serious.

Learn more about injury prevention and pediatric sports medicine.

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